Two-Time Le Mans Winners Petersen/ White Lightning Announce 2005 Campaign LAS VEGAS, Nev., January 12, 2005 - Petersen Motorsports/ White Lightning Racing and Porsche Motorsports North America jointly announced today that the two-time 24 Heures...
Two-Time Le Mans Winners Petersen/ White Lightning Announce 2005 Campaign
LAS VEGAS, Nev., January 12, 2005 - Petersen Motorsports/ White Lightning Racing and Porsche Motorsports North America jointly announced today that the two-time 24 Heures du Mans champions will again defend their 2003 and '04 GT2 Le Mans titles. The Michael Petersen-owned race team will also return to compete as a factory-supported operation in 2005 at both Le Mans and in the full American Le Mans Series (ALMS). Longtime partners Petersen (Southern California) and team manager Dale White (Las Vegas, Nev.) further announced that, along with an increase in factory support for '05 and '06, the Las Vegas-based Grand Touring 2 (GT2) class team will enjoy a full complement of championship drivers for the upcoming season. Jörg Bergmeister (Langenfield, Germany) and Patrick Long (Las Vegas, Nev.) will pilot the No. 31 Westward Ho Casino/ MMPIE/ PAWS/ Michelin Porsche 911 GT3 RSR throughout the season. A third driver for the endurance races (Mobil1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the ten hour Petit Le Mans) will be announced at a later date.
Bergmeister and Long are making their returns to Petersen/ White Lightning as both drove the race winning entry at Le Mans in '04. In 2004 ALMS competition, Bergmeister won four GT2 events in a Porsche 911 GT3 RSR on his way to third in the final point standings. Racing the Westward Ho Casino car, the lanky German set a new track record for the class in pre-qualifying at Le Mans on his way to helping the team win the pole and the race at La Sarthe. Bergmeister has eight class wins in 27 ALMS career starts.
Long is considered a prodigy in American motorsports. While only 23, the California native has taken the sport by storm having stepped from the high intensity world of international karting, to European formula car racing and, in 2004, fulltime in sports car racing. After competing with the White Lightning Racing-prepared Porsche at Le Mans last season, he completed his first full season in the ALMS with six top-five GT2 finishes and sixth in the GT2 driver standings.
Petersen Motorsports/ White Lightning Racing began operation as an off-road team in the 1980s. Together Petersen and White won over 50 truck races, including three-consecutive overall wins at the Baja 1000, and multiple championships. Since beginning sports car racing, the effort has scored victories in the ALMS, the Trans-Am Series, Speed World Challenge Series and endurance sports car wins at the 24 Hours of Le Mans (twice, 2003 and '04), Watkins Glen and at the Rolex 24 of Daytona. They finished fifth in the 2004 ALMS GT2 team championship having scored six podium finishes in nine races and four IMSA Cup awards for privateer entrants in the class.
Michael Petersen, team owner: "2004 was a great year and we are now looking forward to a killer 2005! After some hard discussions we have decided to sign Jörg and Patrick for what I feel is one of the strongest lineups in the ALMS. These guys bring some serious talent to the team and are the ticket to a great season and a shot at the GT2 and privateer championships. Those have been our goals for awhile now. Last year was great with all the competition in the ALMS, but this year should really be exciting for the fans with several teams that can win any race. I know the guys are fired up and working hard! We are looking forward to the start of a successful and fun 2005 season. We appreciate Porsche's commitment to Petersen Motorsports/ White Lightning Racing and we will make every effort to live up to their faith in our program."
Uwe Brettel, president, Porsche Motorsports North America: "Since entering professional sports car racing with Porsche, Petersen Motorsports/ White Lightning Racing has proven to be one of our most professional and successful teams. Our relationship has grown stronger each year to the point that, in 2005, we are proud to announce that we will further strengthen our partnership with Mike and Dale beginning at Sebring. As a part of that, Jörg and Patrick will join Petersen/ White Lightning next season. Porsche is especially pleased to be represented at Le Mans and in the ALMS by an organization that has proven, as a strictly privateer team, to be one of the most efficient operations in sports car racing around the world. Porsche Motorsports wishes the team 'good luck' for the 2005 season."
Dale White, team manager: "This marks a significant moment for Petersen/ White Lightning. We have always enjoyed a great relationship with Porsche but for 2005, and beyond, we will be working more closely than ever. Patrick and Jörg drove for us last year at Le Mans and we were very impressed with their performance. Each driver showed they worked well with our team. They both fit right in. With Jörg we have gained one of the best GT drivers in the world. Also, it was important to Mike and me to continue to have an American on our team. Patrick proved last year at Le Mans that he could run with anyone in the sport. We're very pleased to have them as part of Petersen/ White Lightning and we're excited about meeting this new challenge at Le Mans and in the ALMS. We know that we will be racing in the most competitive sports car racing class in the world and we have the resources to come out on top."
Jörg Bergmeister, driver: "After the successful and good time with the team in Le Mans, I am really happy and excited to be with Petersen/ White Lightning again. I think we all have the same goal for this season^Å trying to win the championship."
Patrick Long, driver: "It's a nice feeling for me to pickup where I left off with Petersen/ White Lightning last year at Le Mans. My past with the team is obviously very good. These are the guys who gave me my first shot at La Sarthe, and a damn successful one at that. I'm really looking forward to teaming with Jörg and Stefan (Pfeiffer, crew chief) again. The ALMS GT2 class is going to be ultra competitive as always so we have our work cut out for us. My goal is to come out on top at several races and have that championship in the team's hands at the end of the year. There were quite a few drivers to choose from on Mike and Dale's side and I am very grateful to them for signing me."
For more, please visit www.petersenmotorsports.com. To learn about Porsche, please visit www.porschecars.com.